Tres Leches Cake is traced back as early as 1875 from a recipe printed on the back of a Nestle canned Condensed Milk. It’s original source is unknown but has been long known in Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and Cuba.
Contrary to it’s name this “Three Milk Cake” is actually a four milk product cake using Heavy Cream, Whole Milk, Evaporated Milk and Condensed Milk. The Heavy Cream is applied in the whipped cream recipe of this cake. In the US heavy cream is 36% or more milk-fat and is preferred because of it’s ability to stabilize after whipping as well as it’s resistance to heat, if not available the substitution of “light whipping cream” at only 30-36% fat is acceptable. Whole Milk at about 3.25% milk-fat is used in the “three milks” mixture along with Evaporated Milk which is simply Whole Milk that has reached a boil then summers until 60% of its body has evaporated and is then canned for preservation. Making your own Evaporated Milk is simple but will cost more than buying a can. The last of the “three milks” is Sweetened Condensed Milk which is a mixture of 60% whole milk and 40% sugar by volume, it is then brought to a boil and simmered until 60% of the water is evaporated and left is a sweet milky syrup. Needless to say this is not a cake for lactose intolerant but it is one of our most favorite deserts.
113 g | 4oz | .5 Cup Butter, Unsalted (room temperature)
191 g | 6.75oz | 1 5/8 Cup Cake Flour
5 g | 1 tsp Baking Powder
4 g | .5 tsp Iodized Salt
226 g | 8oz | 1cup Granulated Sugar
5 Large Eggs
10 g | 1.5 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
Cooking Spray or Butter to Grease pans.
small handful of cake flour or flour pans.
1 – 12oz can Evaporated Milk
1 – 14oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk
226 g | 8oz | 1 cups Whole Milk
452 g | 16oz | 2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
226 g | 8oz | 1 cup Sugar, Superfine
7 g | 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Grease and lightly flour 1-13×9 or 2-9″ Round pans.
3) Beat butter and sugar into smooth fluffy cream, add eggs one at a time until just incorporated, mix in vanilla.
4) Whisk together flour, bp, salt and add to butter mixture in three batches until just combined.
5) Evenly divide batter between two round pans or spread evenly in one rectangle pan. Level out the top with offset spatula for even baking.
6) Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick is inserted and comes out with possible moist crumb but mostly clean.
7) Ventilated pans for even cooling on cooling wrack for 30 minutes. Do not remove cakes from pans.
While cake is cooling whisk together condensed, evaporated and whole milk.
8) Heavily perforate cakes with toothpicks, this is your chance to go crazy with poking holes. Evenly and slowly pour mixture into the pans over the cakes. They will be mostly covered in liquid but they will absorb it all.
9) Saran Wrap the pans and refrigerate for no less than one hour, preferably overnight.
10) Whip heavy cream, sugar and vanilla to medium-stiff peaks.
11) Frost sheet cake with whipped cream or frost the bottom round layer and then stack second round layer and frost. Refrigerate for an hour before serving.
2-9″ rounds are good for immediate consumption as in a birthday party where the whole cake is eaten but if it will take a few days to finish we suggest a single sheet tray because the three milk liquid will pool up in the bottom of the tray and the top layer of the cake will dry out over time.